There’s unalloyed joy in sculpting with mud; mixing soil with clay, straw; sun-drying the bricks before finishing the cob structure with cow dung clay. The essence of natural building is the hands-on experimentation, close engagement with the material and use of locally available resources – one that can be harnessed for building sustainable eco-friendly architectural designs.
As we meandered through the narrow streets of Ribling, Tandi, Sumnam and Ghoshal villages in Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul district, we saw the indelible change of modernisation that had reached even the remotest corners of India. The cemented pavement had replaced the old mountain roads and the concrete houses were replacing the traditional wood and mud houses. In this new emerging transformation, small two-storey mud-houses outside people’s houses stood as a mysterious testament to the old ways.